The Price For An Unsinned Sin

Was it the heavy blows nudging my head or the throbbing slaps that caused me to stagger from one edge of the room to the other? Was it the angry words that accompanied each blow or how loud they sounded as his hands wreaked havoc on a fragile me? I can’t tell what brought the tears. The tears slipped fast beneath my lower lid till it touched my upper lip; it tasted salty, unlike the sour taste of blood leaking from my lower lip.

I whimpered and whispered ‘I am sorry’. In hot tears, I held in the pain; I couldn’t let the scream out for fear of what he might do next. I only curled up like a millipede, shielded my face from the blows and the kicks that my body suffered, first I counted within till it became like gun shots from a typical James Bond movie. I lost count.

It was the first Friday of the month but not the first time such would happen in our home where I was beautifully customized with a swollen face, black and blue eye, with a lip red not out of lipstick but with the remains of congealed blood. So tonight wasn’t new only that I had never seen him raise his voice at me, not ever.  So despite the blood dripping from my nose and the swollen eye and ribs and the throbbing rib that ached like it was on fire, instead of being angry, I was concerned. Again, I said, “I am sorry” and within I wondered  - What could have made him this angry?

Daniel is snappy by nature, every little thing gets him angry; at least when we were home, everything I said or did, as well as the things I did not say or was too scared to do. I had just faked a smile and said ‘Wel…’ when the first slap on my face landed, a second after the bang on the door as he slammed it behind him, still I managed to say, ‘Welcome home dear’  his shocking response was foolish woman, stupid thing, bastard he shouted and then hit me the more.

Before now, Daniel would batter me for hours like a demon but he never shouted and I played my part, I dare not scream, this kept his nice guy image in front of our neighbours and the sweet couples talk within the estate; it didn’t matter what happened behind closed doors. Those days when I was so hurt, I couldn't help but scream, he would gag me with a special piece of clothing- the lingerie I wore on the first night we had sex. My husband loves his reputation than he loves me.

The first day Nkem used the lingerie on me, we were in the room and it happened to be the nearest clothing. Since then, I never wore it; it constantly reminded me of those nights. Each time he beat me I would wash it, hoping that the memories would be washed away. Last month as I spread I saw the material was already faded. Tonight, I was concerned because he was the one screaming and his eyes were blazing with fury.  As I got up, my hands went straight to the lingerie, I wanted to close his mouth, to tell him he was screaming, to remind him that the neighbors would hear and come over. But before my hands got to the lingerie, he shot a blow to my head so hard that for a moment, I was blank. It was like a hallucination as I heard him shout, his words were vague, then another blow came hitting my ribs and this jolted me back to reality, I screamed so loud that it echoed round the compound. I ran across the room, searching for the keys which he had thrown away angrily after he locked the door.

If only he would sit and explain things to me? I would apologize and maybe give him a massage which he loves so much to ease his tense temples; there was nothing a good massage will not solve for Daniel. He sat down on the chair, panting heavily, and from experience, I knew this was just a pause so he could regain strength. It was always at this moment he said what was bothering him. So I waited for the words to come out while I slowly dragged my butt across the floor over to the TV settee; the direction where he had thrown the key earlier. I was scared for him not even for hurting myself.

His anger never lasts long but whenever it comes upon him, he could be as fierce as a lion. He has been threatened once by the members of the landlord association in the estate. I was the one who begged that they leave him alone, that I was fine. ‘you slut’ he said as he breathe heavily. I opened my mouth in shock ‘ehnnn?’ I asked; not sure if I had heard him correctly

‘Ask me again and I will send you straight to your grave where you belong" he said almost rising from the sofa. I quickly got up, since my search for the key was fruitless, my only source of escape was out of place. Daniel please, I pleaded. “Take it easy. Yes I agree, I am a slut but what did I do?’’

He sat down and hissed loudly. It was futile arguing with Daniel, this would only fuel his anger. Still curled up like a millipede, though a little relaxed this time, I thought of my next line of action to pacify him. You think I didn't see you ehn? He said pointing his index finger at me. You think I didn't see you? He repeated, this time his voiced raised. “see me where?” I asked, puzzled. Instead of answering me, he said “you will tell me today who paid for your bride price whether it is me or him?

‘‘Daniel you paid for my bride price’’ I said amidst confusion I didn't understand jack in what he was saying, I only had to reply him because my silence was a way of saying he was a fool. It didn’t matter if he listened or not, I had to say something. Now you go out with any low life that has a car in your office? shey? He continued, You think I didn't see you ehn, the way you smiled foolishly when he hugged you. You even told him to call you. When last did you smile like that in his house? It is much easier for you to smile like that when you flirt with another man abi? He stuttered.

I didn't know which question to answer first, I was blank but I now understood why he was livid. Everything he said was true, unfortunately, it was the first of such and that didn't make me a slut. It was approaching the dead of the night, the compound was still.

Is it wrong I smile all I can before I enter this house, enraged by his presence? How was I to explain to an adult, that smiles are the reflection of happiness and that I wasn't happy with him? He refused to buy me some basic things he could afford; for example, a car and I never complained as long as I didn't have to join the legendary Lagos struggle for cab.

Read - The Price For An Unsinned Sin [Part 2]

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